ISLAMABAD: Sunni Ittehad Council has issued a fatwa, or religious ruling, declaring “honour killing” over perceived damage to a family’s reputation against the teaching of Islam, and anyone who carries out such an attack a heretic.
Hundreds of Pakistanis, the vast majority women and girls, are murdered every year by relatives after being accused of damaging a family’s honour. Most cases involve young women
trying to chose partners against a family’s wishes.
Last Friday, a father in Lahore killed his daughter and her husband because he disapproved of their marriage.
Last month, a 16-year-old girl accused of helping a young couple elope was killed and her body set on fire, in a case that again brought the into the national spotlight.
Last year, more than 500 men and women were murdered in such, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
The toll this year, as of Monday, was 233, the group said. Most suspects in honour killings are never prosecuted. The religious council called on the government to amend laws that allow family members to “forgive” perpetrators in killings over honour, which means charges are often dropped.
In February, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif praised an Oscar-winning Pakistani film on honour killings, raising hope among activists that long-pending legislation on the issue would be passed. However, no progress has been made.